Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Review Catchup for July & Part of August

I haven't been blogging....but I have been reading. Here's a little catch up. If you want the full reviews, if they aren't included, follow the link to the library's blog.

PCL Staff Review Blog

Sizzling Sixteen
By Janet Evanovich
The series stays strong! Still a little dirty....still totally hilarious. I really loved Lula's new diet...the "One Diet". You can have one of everything. One pea, one apple, one roast, one cake...sounds good to me.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
By Aimee Bender
I still haven't quite decided how much I liked this book. I liked it, couldn't stop thinking about it, even weeks after I finished it. Fascinating premise; a girl who tastes the emotions of anyone who prepares her food. With 'cake' in the title, I thought it would be a little less deperessing, but it was still really fascinating.

By Gail Carringer
This is one of those vampire books I have a strange affection for. This particular piece of fiction is more steam punk than horror, but I really liked it. It's the first in a series. I'm not sure I'll read the others...mostly because I'm trying to avoid dirty-ish books...which this is.

Writing Jane Austen
By Elizabeth Aston
Elizabeth Aston is the author of the "Mr. Darcy's Daughters" series which I actually love. This book is not part of that series and I really wouldn't recommend it to most people. It's kind of entertaining, but the story totally drags and the romantic aspect of the plot is completely unfulfilling.

The Last Dickens
By Matthew Pearl
This, like most of Pearl's literary mysteries, is based on actual facts. An American publisher becomes mixed up in the opium trade while trying to find the unpublished conclusion of Charles Dickens's last piece of fiction. It was good. I recommend to anyone looking for a good clean mystery.

Spies of the Balkans
By Alan Furst
I realized recently, I read a lot of WWII fiction. This one takes place in...surprise!!...the Balkans just before war breaks out. This wasn't a terrific book, but it was good enough. The love story was a little annoying to me...glances across the room lead to true love within moments....kind of obnoxious...or maybe I mean kind of nauseating...

The imperfectionists
By Tom Rachman
This was basically just a collection of short stories which use the common setting of a English language newspaper printing out of Rome. The writing was really good, but I have a hard time getting excited about short stories. By the time I start to like the protagonist...the story is over.

Agent Zigzag
By Ben Macintyre
This is the same guy who wrote "Operation Mincemeat", which I loved. I also loved this book, not quite as much, but almost. This one is about a British/German double agent during World War II.

Graveyard Book
By Neil Gaiman
I've said it before, but it is seriously still true...you should always listen to Neil Gaiman books. He just does a fantastic job of narrating his own stories. This won the Newberry award a couple years ago and is a story about a little boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard.

Here's Looking at Euclid
By Alex Bellos
This is a little tour through the history of mathematics. Sounds boring, but I really liked it. Bellos has a real gift for words, as you can tell by the BRILLIANT title. He also called a horse whose owner claimed could count and do basic arithmatic an "equine Eistein"....had me giggling for days. (I'm easily entertained...and LOVE alliterations!)

Team of Rivals
By Doris Goodwin
I'm a little mad about this book right now. I found out after listening to 8 discs that I was listening to an abridgement of this book! I hate that! I feel so manipulted. Still, it was a good book, Lincoln was a brilliant leader and just a really good man and this is a great review of his presidency.

Pearl of China
By Anchee Min
This is a fictionalization of the life of Pearl S. Buck. I really enjoyed it and learned not only about a really brave woman but also about what was going on in China during WWII and the Chinese civil war that followed.

The Invisible Bridge
By Julie Orrington
I checked this book out 3 times before I actually got around to reading it. But I'm glad I stuck with it. I really enjoyed this story of a young Hungarian Jew during the years building up to WWII and then through the nightmare of the holocaust. Not a clean read, but a really great work of historical fiction by a gifted writer.

Well, that's it. :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Jane Slayre

Jane Slayre
By Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin

The plot should sound familiar. A lonely orphan is raised by her heartless aunt until she is sent away to boarding school where she eventually becomes an instructor. She then takes a job as a governess and falls in love with the taciturn master of the house. He, in turn, loves her but their plans to marry are thwarted by the existence of a lunatic wife. “Jane Eyre?” you ask. Not quite. This is the story of Jane Slayre. A lonely orphan, gifted in the art of slaying, who is raised by her vampire aunt until she is sent away to a boarding school that harvests zombies where she eventually becomes an instructor. Naturally, after that, she takes a job as a governess and falls in love only to have her opportunity for happiness stymied by a lunatic werewolf wife.

I am not the biggest fan of Jane Eyre, but I loved this horrified version of her story. I’ll admit the zombies are usually a little much for me, a prefer vamps and weres; however, even that wasn’t able to detract from the enjoyment I experienced as Jane spiked and beheaded her foes while winning Mr. Rochester’s heart. I wholeheartedly recommend this funny spin on a familiar tale to anyone looking to venture into the ever growing world of twisted classics.

I'm On Vacation!!! (and almost rested enough to enjoy it)

I just arrived today in…well, not rainy…but cloudy Seattle and I’m just excited to be here!

As I prepared to leave this week, I found myself trying to put in as many hours as possible in order to limit how much actual time off I would have to take. I know that doesn’t sound especially crazy, but I’ve decided it actually is.

You see, I have plenty of vacation hours. Why then, do I feel a compulsive drive to kill myself working long hours so that when my vacation actually comes I spend the first day just recovering from staying up too late and getting up too early to actually keep functioning? That is just insane!!

It’s like when you start building up a savings account and then, even though you have lived with less money saved up in the bank….it is just torture to deplete that stockpile. If that analogy doesn’t connect with you…how about when you have your favorite treat or dessert and you put off actually eating….saving it for the perfect moment….and then you go to eat it and it has gone bad. (Olloliberry Pies come to mind….)

Anyway, my point is just that I really struggle using up scarce resources even though they are actually a bit abundant…..but what if I need more at some time in the future???